Why do we get prune fingers? (Thinkstock)
Why do we get prune fingers?
Lexile

You asked us a question. Why do we get prune fingers?
 
People used to think that the wrinkles happened when the outer layer of our skin on our fingers and toes swelled up with water. But now we know that pruning is caused by blood vessels below the skin. The blood vessels are constricting.
 
It's an involuntary reaction to wet conditions. The reaction comes from our autonomic nervous system. That's the same system that controls things like our breathing, heart rate and perspiration. Those are things we don't have to consciously think about to do.
 
But why did our fingers and toes evolve to react this way when wet?
 
A few people started taking a closer look. They thought, "Hey, you know those wrinkles on our fingers and toes? They kind of look like tire treads, don't they?" So they began to test a hypothesis.
 
Maybe we wrinkle so, like tire treads, our fingers and toes can get better traction in wet conditions. Sure enough, our pruny digits do a better job of handling wet objects than dry fingers.
 
It's possible this nifty trick helped our ancestors. They could get a better grip and sturdier footing in wet conditions. Thanks, science! Now I can kick butt at my next water balloon fight.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why don't we consciously think about breathing and heart rate?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (23)
  • sophies-bel
    5/20/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    We get so caught up on things that we might be doing it blanks our mind.

  • sydneyg-ver
    5/20/2016 - 10:09 a.m.

    the is happenes so we better condition in the water and this is caused by blood vessels under the skin this is in the nervous system

  • jonathani-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:45 a.m.

    We don't think about breathing and our heart rate because we don't have to do it.I have gotten prune fingers and my brother too and I would've called him Grandpa.????

  • marisole-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:50 a.m.

    We don't consciously keep thinking about our breathing and heart rate because we don't die from our breathing getting fast we can just slow our breathing down by taking deep breathes and for the heart rate we can do the same take a deep breathe.

  • americaa-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:53 a.m.

    We don't think about breathing and heart rate because you have to breathe when you run out of oxygen in your body.Also because your heart beats all the time especially when you have finish running.Finally because your to focused on why you have prune fingers/toes.

  • cristianl-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:53 a.m.

    We don't think about it because you get over it and we don't think about it that we just don't care about it we have no interest to it because we know a lot about it.

  • isaiahd-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:53 a.m.

    Becues we play and we're not thinking obout it and. We don't feel it also there is ather Lars of skin in oru blood vesicles. Also there contracting. And when were active we don't fell it.

  • valeriam-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    Why don't we think about heart rate and breathing. We do not think about it because you could get destrated. We don't care ether people say it waste. Their time worrying about your breathing and heart rate.

  • alexism-148507-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    The reaction comes from our autonomic nervous system.that is the same system that controls things like our breathing,heart rate and perspiration.we get very distracted.we might be having fun.

  • ariannai-san
    5/20/2016 - 11:55 a.m.

    I don't know really I never think about stuff like that. Huh in p.e we talk about this. I get really distracted and don't really think. Though I like to check my pulse. Most of the time I'm busy and stressed that I don't really care about nothing even myself.

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